Spicy Tuna Salad


Serve on a bed of mixed greens or butter lettuce for a larger meal.

Recipe makes 2 servings.
Approximate Prep Time: 15 minutes
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Votes: 25
Rating: 4.44
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2 can(s) tuna in oil
1 cup(s) olives, green or black, chopped (about 20)
2 medium onion(s), green, chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper(s), finely chopped (no seeds and/or less jalapeno if you want less spice)
3 tablespoon(s) capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon(s) red pepper flakes
2 medium lemon(s), juiced
1 teaspoon(s) olive oil
1 head(s) lettuce, butter, or mixed greens (optional)
1 medium avocado(s), sliced


  1. Combine all the ingredients and serve over lettuce, with sliced avocado on top.
  2. Serve immediately, or store it in the fridge for a day for more flavor. NOTE: always be sure to add the avocado just before serving.

This recipe inspired in part or in whole from here.


  1. Cindy

    Don’t forge the capers. They are not added on the “Weekly Shopping list” and they make this recipe 10x better :)

  2. WasatchCrossfit

    So this was odd, I let it sit for 24 hours and it was spicy and sour (lemon), could not just eat it without something. It says ‘salad’ is there supposed to be lettuce or anything else to tame the sourness.

  3. Kevin Williams

    I just made this for the first time. This is a great recipe!
    It is very versatile in that you can adjust/omit any of the ingredients.
    I pretty much followed the recipe, but I didn’t measure much. I just put in amounts that looked about right for my tastes.
    I ate some of it with a ripe heirloom tomato. Next meal will be over lettuce. I’m going to add a hardboiled egg to it and see how that works.
    And as if the tuna wasn’t fishy enough, I added a few anchovies to my serving.

  4. jtaylorok

    Is it juiced lemons or lemon juice.

    • Jason G.

      The recipe states it should be three juiced lemons, however, you can probably use lemon juice if that’s all you have.

  5. mommydanna

    I made this today but was too afraid to put 2 “tablespoons” of red chili flakes. I put 2 “teaspoons” instead and it was PLENTY hot enough for us. I served it over a bed of mixed greens. My lemons were large so next time I’d use alot less lemon juice! Otherwise it turned out pretty good. I’m eager to see how it tastes tomorrow. Kevin, I like your idea of adding a hard boiled egg! yum!

  6. Bianca M

    By far this is my favorite! I can eat this daily either for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I only use two lemons and it taste great!

  7. briggsa

    i substitute canned wild sockeye salmon from costco and like the recipe even more

  8. GiGi

    Throwing hard boiled egg chunks in here too – Scrumptious!

  9. zayasluis

    Can’t handle too spicy so we added 1 Tbs of chile flakes and no jalapeño. That was spicy enough for us. It made my face a little sweaty but not bad enough to take down my glass of water. Let’s see what it tastes like today.

  10. heyoulady

    We used kalamata olives instead of the green olives and with the lemon and caper it almost tasted like a vinaigrette. Tuna can be kind of boring but I really liked the flavors in this recipe. Found that it was so flavorful that I did not feel like eating too much.

  11. NicoChic

    I used canned yellowfin tuna marinated in olive oil and lemon dill. It was delicious. I’m just concerned about the salt in the tuna, olives and capers. Other then that it was delicious!!

  12. Imitation

    You say two cans of tuna but you don’t say how big. Would a 425g can be about right?

    • Neely

      @Imitation – We were thinking the 156 g (5 oz) cans. But if you need more than that, go right ahead! Sorry for the confusion.

  13. Bec

    I’ve been making a version of this for years – tuna, capers, olives, diced capsicum, tomato, cucumber, mayonnaise, lettuce leaves. The rest of the family have it on crackers..

  14. akrauss

    Oil packed… be careful because vegetable oil is off limjits is my understanding?

  15. paolapass08

    So far I have loved every one of the recipes, I don’t usually like tuna salad but this one is delicious. I will make it again.

  16. Amber Aguirre

    My husband is in the marines and instead of eating out, he takes his lunch. Or I’ll make something fresh for him and take it. I made this burrito style by wrapping it up in a romaine leaf. Yummy!

  17. Ellen

    Made this last night and my boyfriend said it was the best dinner I have ever made. It really was delicious! I used 1 lemon instead of 2 and lemon infused olive oil.

    And we wrapped it in Romain which made it fun to eat.

    Next time around, I will double the recipe so I can have leftovers!

  18. danica.rippy@gmail.com

    Made this for a quick dinner tonight! My fiance, brother, and I were beat after our weekly grocery shopping so I needed something to whip up in a snap. This was planned for our lunch tomorrow so I decided to double up what I intended to make. Made without capers because they disappeared from our grocery haul. Added some cayenne pepper. Put on top organic baby spinach and arugula and it was a winner. Both of them are looking forward to their lunch tomorrow and I have one less thing to do in the morning. ;)

  19. Linz @ Itz Linz

    YUM! i love a good spicy tuna combo!

  20. elesher@vt.edu

    Why do you recommend oil-packed versus water-packed tuna?

    • Neely

      elesher@vt.edu – It just helps give it more flavor and juice. You can use the water packed tuna for sure, especially if the only oil-packed tuna is packed in soy oil, which is common.

  21. Betty

    What size cans of tuna?

  22. Pat

    My first day of Paleo eating, flipping around looking for recipes . I came across your site and tried the Tuna salad this has got to be the Best Tuna Salad Ever !!! I made it with oven roasted cherry tomatoes with fresh oregano and olive oil ,follwed the rest of the recipe and put on a bed of Romaine lettuce so filling and tasty . Thank you i will definetly try other recipes.

  23. Anonymous

    The recipe says 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes. Why were some people using 2 Tblsp? Either they misread the recipe or you changed the misprint. That would make a huge difference. Also some don’t seem to read the recipe which says to serve over butter lettuce or other with avacado to cut the heat. Sounds good. I will try it.

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